Wednesday, November 12, 2014

School bus safety

Blog contributed by Kathleen
Zimmerman, MD
Pediatrician



School is well on its way and your child is probably getting comfortable in their routine.  This is a good thing, but we don’t want them to forget to be safe.  You should review school bus safety rules with your child:

  1. Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before stepping off the curb
  2. Stay in seat  and don’t move around on the bus
  3. Listen to the bus driver – they are in charge
  4. When getting off the bus, don’t cross until the bus is at a complete stop, with the red lights flashing. Children should cross at least 10 feet in front of the bus.
  5. Always watch for oncoming cars before crossing.  Not everyone stops for those flashing lights like they are supposed to!

Your child may ask why they don’t need to wear their seatbelt on the bus.  Pennsylvania does not require this.  Why not?  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has done research that showed that the “compartmentalization” of school bus seats protects children very well.  Their research also shows the lab belts provide little if any benefit and could even cause injury because of misuse.  Shoulder belts would likely give better safety statistics, but children are not reliable to put these on appropriately and could increase their risk.   So, as of now, your child will not need to wear their seatbelt on the bus.  But you should explain to them the importance of seatbelts in all other vehicles.

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